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March 16 airpower: C-130s backbone of tactical airlift

3/16/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for March 16. 

In Afghanistan March 15, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle dropped a guided bomb unit-12 on enemy forces moving on a trail along a ridge near Dowlet Shah.  A joint terminal attack controller on scene confirmed the weapon hit the intended target.

One of two other F-15Es dropped a GBU-12 on enemy troops on a hilltop near Now Zad. They were using the hilltop to direct mortar fire at coalition forces. A JTAC confirmed the weapon hit the target. One of the F-15Es then dropped a GBU-12 on the hilltop mortar position. A JTAC reported the weapon landed close to the targeted individual.

Other F-15Es provided shows of force for a coalition convoy that hit an improvised explosive device near Delaram. No attacks were reported after the show of force.

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets searched for enemy mortar positions near Sangin. In the same area, another F/A-18 dropped a GBU-38 on an enemy building. A JTAC confirmed the weapon hit the building directly.

Near Now Zad, F/A-18s dropped GBU-38s on two mortar firing positions. A JTAC confirmed weapons had good effects on the targets.

In total, 39 close-air-support missions were flown in support of Afghan and International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, troops, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Six Air Force and Royal Air Force information, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Afghanistan. U.S. Navy fighter aircraft performed in non-traditional ISR roles with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

In Iraq, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs conducted a counter IED reconnaissance mission along multiple routes near Balad. One A-10 pilot also provided overwatch for a coalition convoy in the same area while another continued to search for IED hotspots.

Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons also provided overwatch for a coalition convoy near Balad.

Navy F/A-18s provided a low-flying show of force for coalition forces near Fallujah. The JTAC requested the show of force to establish air presence and prevent a potential attack, and reported the desired effects were achieved.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 42 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions provided support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

Additionally, 11 Air Force, Navy and Royal Australian Air Force ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq

Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Nearly 150 airlift sorties were flown; some 400 tons of cargo were delivered, and approximately 3,220 passengers were transported.

Coalition C-130 crews from Australia, Iraq and Japan flew in support of OIF or OEF.

On March 14, Air Force, RAF and French tankers flew 35 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.4 million pounds of fuel which is the equivalent of more than 60 full Air Force fuel trucks.

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